Slough Borough Council has said that taxi and private hire drivers and operators in the borough are to be issued with information about identifying and reporting modern slavery.
Advice will be provided in conjunction with Slough’s crime and disorder reduction partnership, the Safer Slough Partnership – and will include access to a free smartphone app developed by the Salvation Army, which can be used to report suspicious activity.
The council’s Commissioner for regulation and consumer protection, Councillor Paul Sohal, said:
“We have an important duty to notify the Home Office of anyone whom we believe is a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking – and our local taxi drivers are key to identifying those most at risk.”
The council says that the advice being issued builds on the successful safeguarding awareness training which has been teaching Slough drivers and operators the skills they need to help identify victims of child sexual exploitation, as well as vulnerable adults – more than 850 drivers and operators across the borough have been trained to date.
The safeguarding awareness training programme is to be formally evaluated by University College London (UCL) students as part of their degree course, in partnership with the council.
The evaluation will commence in September 2017 and provide students with the opportunity to evaluate and understand project outcomes, while gaining practical research experience.
Slough Borough Council’s training programme has been recognised as good practice and other local authorities are now using it as a model for their own programmes.
Councillor Sohal added:
“We are proud to be leading the way on ensuring we maintain high-quality transport delivery to the people of Slough and its visitors, upskilling the taxi trade to safeguard vulnerable children, young people and adults.
“The fact that other Berkshire authorities are now rolling out training to their own drivers and operators highlights the positive impact and importance of our initiative.”
Slough Borough Council licensing officers were recognised for their “outstanding work” in designing and delivering the mandatory safeguarding training programme by the Berkshire environmental health managers group at their annual symposium in January.
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